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Penn Students Use XBox Kinect To Create Device For Visually Impaired

r5lq7rt1 Students Hack Microsofts Kinect to Assist the Visually Impaired Two computer science students from the University of Pennsylvania, Eric Berdinis and Jeff Kiske, have hacked together a very impressive tactile feedback system for the visually impaired using a Microsoft Kinect device and a number of vibration actuators. The Kinecthesia is a belt worn camera system that detects the location and depth of objects in front of the wearer using depth information detected by the Kinect sensor. This information is processed on a BeagleBoard open computer platform and then used to drive six vibration motors located to the left, center and right of the user. The video below shows a demo of the system in use and gives a quick explanation of its operation.

The students came up with the idea for the Kinecthesia when Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Text-To-Braille Conversion Via Touch-Sensitive “Thimble”

While Braille can give the blind the ability to read, much of the text one encounters is not available in Braille (and our increasing dependence on touch-screen smartphones isn’t helping.) Two students at the University of Washington hope to solve this problem with their concept device, which they have termed the “Thimble.” The Thimble contains a fingertip camera and an electro-tactile grid which can read text and convert it to touch-sensitive Braille. The device can also interface with a user’s smartphone via Bluetooth for reading online content.

Source: “Thimble”: Another smartphone-enabled concept for the visually impaired

(Hat Tip: Engadget)

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

New Tool May Help Visually Impaired Learn Braille

Braille BuddyYanko Design blog is profiling the Braille Buddy project that aims to develop a simple-to-use tool to help people who’ve lost eyesight to learn Braille.

Braille Buddy has little retractable bumps that code for different letters, a keyboard, and a voice synthesizer that guides patients through different lessons. The voice will read out letters that a patient has to type back in Braille, and the tactile screen will display letters to read and identify.

Yanko Design: My Best Buddy Braille…

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

A Tool To Help The Visually Impaired “See” Facial Expressions

Shafiq ur Réhman, a doctoral student at Umeå University in Sweden has unveiled his thesis project — a technology that converts facial emotions into special tactile sensations for the visually impaired.

The system uses a webcam to capture faces, and then subsequently converts the captured emotion into a series of vibrations that correspond with the expressed emotion.

The users are expected to train themselves by making their own faces into the webcam and getting a feel for how the vibrations change with the faces they’re making. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

A “Touch” Of Outer Space For The Blind

NASA, in an attempt to have visually-impaired people get a glimpse of what’s “out there,” has created a reconstruction of a Hubble image of the Carina Nebula in a 3D touch map.

Different textures applied to the image help in identifying the various parts of the giant dust cloud. We even think that visually-okay folks can get a better sense of the cosmic anatomy when offered such a presentation.

Read more on this from NASA here.

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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